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Daily Reading: 28th May 2016

Matthew 3.1

1 Now in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the desert of Judea,

It is only Luke’s gospel who records something about John the Baptist, and where he came from.

In chapter one Luke tells us that his parents were Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were both quite old and well beyond child bearing age. They were childless, and Luke described them as:

Righteous in the sight of God in all the commandments and they were blameless in the righteousness of the Lord – Luke 1.6.

Zechariah was a priest and he was serving as priest in the temple when the archangel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that he and Elizabeth were going to have a son, and that they should call him ‘John’.

Similar births are recorded in the Old Testament, such as Sarah & Abraham conceiving Isaac when they were very old. There was also Elkhanah and Hannah, who conceived Samuel, although Hannah was barren.

We know that Zechariah and Elizabeth were related to Mary and Joseph. This appears to have been on the maternal side. In Luke chapter 1 verse 36 Elizabeth is described as the relative of Mary.

From these details we also know that John the Baptist was about six months older than Jesus.

After his birth we do not hear about John again until he is written about in all four gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all quote the passage from Isaiah 40.3-5.

John wrote about John the Baptist as being the one who came to be a witness to the Light: Jesus.

John denied that he was the literal Elijah come from Heaven, but he does state that he had been sent, as was prophesied about Elijah.

John came, sent by God, with a message to proclaim, and he went to a most unlikely place: the desert.

It is also true for every follower of Jesus; God sends us into the desert of human sin; He sends us into the arid places where there is no life towards God.

It is into the barrenness of humanity that Jesus sends us to preach His gospel of eternal life.

 

 

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